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A picture perfect powder day in the Swiss Alps

winter jungfrau switzerland

The first time I visited Interlaken in Switzerland in 2008, I was a fresh faced and wide-eyed twenty year old girl on holiday from studying abroad in Spain. I’m fairly sure that was the first time I laid eyes on glaciers and big snowy mountains, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Thank you Alps!

I’m pretty sure Interlaken is Europe’s equivalent of Queenstown, New Zealand. A picturesque city on a lake in the Alps filled with adventure sports, it’s easy that backpackers are drawn to it, even if it can be on the pricey side. Back on that 4 day trip, we spent two nights sleeping in airports and one night sharing a twin hostel bed. Oh those were the days!

I’ve been back regularly ever since. Switzerland is one of those countries that gets under your skin and makes you want to come back. Again and again and again. It is stunning.

I spent a week in the Jungfrau region in Switzerland exploring with the highlight being a bluebird powder day snowboarding. As someone who is not that great on a snowboard, I thought I’d share my Swiss mountain adventures with you guys.

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

One of my oldest friends lives in Switzerland and I always try and visit when I’m nearby. After exploring Zurich and catching up, I headed out to the Alps for a few days of winter exploring and adventures. Ever since I learned to snowboard at Treble Cone in New Zealand where I live, I’ve been hooked.

I knew I wanted to try and snowboarding there next time I found myself in Switzerland in winter, and I had my chance last March. And wait for it, I got so so SO lucky with a one meter bluebird powder day!

At the time, I was a bit grumpy because the weather was dismal by the time I managed to drive to Interlaken. Driving in Europe is a tad bit different from New Zealand, and Switzerland is fast, efficient and full of tunnels.

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

The next two days we ended up spending exploring Interlaken itself while the weather rained and rained. I had always lucked out with clear blue sky days every time I visited. But you know what it means in winter if it’s a freezing drizzle in town? It usually means it’s dumping snow in the mountains!

After saying goodbye to my friend, I drove up to Lauterbrunnen to head to the Jungfrau region, which by the way is quite possibly the most beautiful valley in the entire world. No, I do not say that lightly. I’d been out here many times and I never get tired of it. And this time it was covered in fresh white snow from the storms turning it into a winter wonderland.

With sheer cliff faces on either side and huge glaciers in the distance with a picturesque European village nestled beneath a waterfall, it seriously doesn’t look real.

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

From there I caught the train up into the mountains to Wengen where I was staying the night, one of those car-free alpine villages that look straight out of a fairytale.

Now excuse me while I go on a bit of a tangent here, but seriously Switzerland has what might be the best transport system in the world. I can’t even believe it. My first experience with ski resorts was in New Zealand, where the drives are fairly dodgy gravel roads with little guardrails and a few chairlifts and rope tows. Let’s call it rustic. Classic. Authentic. Cough, cough, basic.

Now we have Switzerland, where they literally built a train that goes to the top of a 3,500 meter tall glaciated mountain 100 years ago, and the entire Alps are all connected with car-less villages, huge gondolas, small gondolas, a bazillion chairlifts, and roads just for skiing. There are ski-in ski-out hotels, restaurants, cafes, chalets, and so many trails you could definitely not see them all in a week, and oh, there is also a train you can catch too. You can literally take a train to ski!

WHAT IS THIS??

Oh, and it all runs like clockwork. Switzerland, you are ridiculously amazing.

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

The sun was just starting to peak through the lifting snow clouds and was beginning to set as I made my way to the hotel in Wengen. Wengen, and the Alps around Interlaken in general give me major Grand Budapest Hotel vibes, which means I obviously love it.

Switzerland has the history and culture in combination with epic mountains; it feels like you step back in time to some grand European tour of the 19th century when you’re there combined with modern day efficiency. It’s outstanding, though can sometimes feel dated, in a good way.

With everything covered in perfect white fresh snow with the occasional deep line I knew the next day was going to be an amazing day of snowboarding and I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.

I was up early the next morning exploring the town before meeting up with my guide and renting a board. Before I knew it, we were piling into a huge 80 person gondola and zipping up the mountain to Männlichen. Anyone want to kickstart one of these in Wanaka with me? Anyone? Anyone?

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

I’m still a beginner/intermediate snowboarder, but even I can appreciate a good powder day. After all, it hurts a hell of a lot less to wipe out on soft fresh snow than it does on weeks old packed down icy piste.

I couldn’t believe how big the area is. Predominantly easy to medium-difficulty terrain, it’s perfect for newbies like me. It just goes on and on, for 110 kilometers in fact. Wengen is a great place to base yourself in a picture perfect alpine village to ski around the Jungfrau region. From here you can also easily access Grindelwald and Mürren-Schilthorn.

Basically you can ski new runs here forever.

winter jungfrau switzerland

Source

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

Even now, that was probably my best day snowboarding to date. Like, I’m still on such a high from it. The runs were so long, and it felt like there was always some new corner to go explore.

I spent most of my time around the tops I think, near Kleine Scheidegg, so the runs were wide and open, something else I appreciate. I always hate being on narrow runs where I feel like I am going to fly off the edge into an abyss. Messes with my head and I usually crash into something. Or someone.

But that was something I loved about snowboarding in such a huge region – it literally felt like I had the place to myself. I don’t know if that’s because it was a weekday in March or what, but there were very few people about. And strangely enough, like no other snowboarders. Plenty of euro skiers in neon colored tight one pieces, but not that many snowboarders. Why?

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

I have this memory of my first run. It felt so wide it could have been a soccer field, and there was no one else on it and it was almost all untracked snow. My ski guide had zipped ahead of me, but I just remember flying back and forth across the whole thing from side to side with no one around me just laughing and whopping with glee as I got covered in snow.

It was the most magical moment of the trip, and I still can’t think about it and not smile. It was one of those moments that made me realize how much fun snowboarding could be. For me, snowboarding is a huge challenge because I have so much fear, but when you have perfect circumstances like this day, I found that my happiness outweighed my anxieties and I was able to push through and truly enjoy myself.

That is, until I got overconfident and went straight off piste into a huge untracked section of snow – which was fun and felt like flying til I realized I don’t actually know how to ride powder and I wiped out. And then couldn’t get up again.

winter jungfrau switzerland

I can’t even put into words how amazing it was to be in such an amazing part of Switzerland on such a great day. I was snowboarding in front of the towering Eiger North Face. It’s beyond impressive, and I had to pinch myself more than once to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

We stopped for an amazing lunch at the Hotel Wengernalp that you ski into – there is a little tunnel you have to ride through to get there, which I promptly faceplanted into – be warned.

I made sure to head to Wengernalp because my flatmate in Wanaka worked here for a few seasons and after hearing all her stories, I had to see it for myself. Sitting outside in the sun looking at the huge mountains drinking champagne eating the most delicious cheese dishes after an amazing morning snowboarding is not something I’ll likely soon forget. Talk about snow luxury.

Even with all my travels, this particular day in Switzerland stands out for me as one of the best. I rode until the sun started to set and I couldn’t turn anymore because my legs gave out. Sigh. Can I go back now?

Do you ski or snowboard? Where’s the best place you’ve ridden? Have you been to the Jungfrau in Switzerland?

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

winter jungfrau switzerland

Many thanks to My Switzerland for hosting me in the Alps – like always, I’m keeping it real. All opinions are my own – like you could expect less from me!

40 Responses to A picture perfect powder day in the Swiss Alps

  1. same day taj mahal tour by train November 26, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Wonderful photos,thank you for sharing your blog,
    Glad to find your blog to be read.thanks for sharing it.

    • Liz November 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

      Cheers

  2. Victoria @The British Berliner November 26, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    Nice one Liz!

    Indeed, I ski! And in my opinion, Europe is the best place for it! I’ve been skiing in Germany, the Czech Republic and Andorra! Andorra was very, very nice, but as you can see, I prefer small, less popular places. As a result, I usually go to the Giant Mountains in the Czech Republic where there are only 3,000 people who actually live in the village, and everybody else is a tourist!

    Last year, I went skiing and while there, I was ill. They were really helpful, but there were only 2 doctors n the village, and neither of them spoke English or German! Luckily, I speak a tiny bit of -I-can-order-my-own-dinner Czech lol! 😀

    • Liz November 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      woah that’s awesome, I love small places too, switzerland was big!

  3. Lucie November 27, 2016 at 1:54 am #

    So so so pretty! I want some snow this year! Lovely pictures!
    Lucie, xx

    • Liz November 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      Thanks!

  4. Michelle November 27, 2016 at 3:34 am #

    Switzerland always sounds beautiful. Glad you always have a great time there. I tried skiing once when I was about 12. Sprained my wrist and haven’t done it since. Maybe now that I’m older and stronger, I will try again one day, but I’m not rushing to it.

    • Liz November 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      haha man injuries can definitely put you off!

  5. Charmaine Ng November 27, 2016 at 6:55 am #

    Wow, your pictures make me so jealous! I’ve only skied once in my life and it was when I was 9. I wish I could do it in Switzerland!

    – Charmaine

    • Liz November 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      Switzerland definitely makes you want to ski!

  6. Danielle November 27, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    I’ve been skiing twice, does that count? I’d love to give snowboarding a try as well. Seems like it would be – I don’t know how to put this – um, less messy when wiping out without all those skis and poles flailing everywhere and sometimes flying off, haha!

    Switzerland looks breathtaking, and I find the idea of their super efficient transport system so appealing. Lovely photos, as always!

    • Liz November 29, 2016 at 11:22 am #

      That’s how I feel about it!

  7. Jørgen November 28, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    I am from Norway, and I am obviously a skier. We have a lot of places to go to here, but I definitely think my next holiday will be a skiing holiday in either Switzerland or Austria, I still regret not making the trip to an Austrian ski center when I was located in Munich for half a year.

    • Liz November 29, 2016 at 11:22 am #

      Cool!

  8. service apartment in malays November 28, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

    Powder Day,it right,photography of your blog is awesome,thank you for sharing this place,this is in my Bucket list,

    • Liz November 29, 2016 at 11:22 am #

      Thanks!

  9. Anita November 28, 2016 at 10:35 pm #

    Hi Liz, I am Swiss but live in New Zealand now. I miss skiing in Switzerland sooo much! I’ve skied on Ruapehu here in NZ but it’s just not quite the same, is it (can’t deny skiing on a volcano is quite special though..) Your photos made me seriously homesick and I will definitely have to plan a skiing trip to Switzerland now. Thanks for the memories, always enjoy your blog.

    • Liz November 29, 2016 at 11:23 am #

      hahahha awesome! Where in NZ are you?

      • Anita November 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

        The Tron 🙂

  10. ilaria November 28, 2016 at 11:17 pm #

    Seems that you enjoy so much snow and Snowboarding :)!! I ski in the Italian Alps..do you know Cortina?

    • Liz November 29, 2016 at 11:23 am #

      I’d love to go to the Italian Alps one day to ski!

  11. Stephanie Craig November 29, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    Gorgeous! I think I’d break all my bones on a snowboard (last time I was skiing I was only 13). But I’d love to chill there and take pictures and drink hot coco.

    • Liz November 29, 2016 at 11:24 am #

      hahah you can do it there! It’s a great place to sit and be cozy!

  12. Andrew Scott November 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, Liz. I remember visiting Jungfrau during the summertime when I was a child. And as someone who grew up snowboarding in the American Midwest, the idea that someone would be able to successfully snowboard down these mountains seems absurd! Glad you enjoyed your experience. 🙂

    • Liz December 1, 2016 at 9:40 am #

      Id does seem crazy doesn’t it?

  13. Jennifer November 29, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    Wow! I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about Switzerland.
    I’ve never been snow boarding before, but all of your pictures
    makes me want to learn asap! 🙂

    • Liz December 1, 2016 at 9:40 am #

      It’s so much fun!

  14. Dustin November 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    Funny watching you on the house hunting show and then see where you are!

    • Liz December 1, 2016 at 9:41 am #

      hahhaha that was so long ago!

  15. Milan Michael December 1, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    Wow Wow Wow! Such a picturesque place! Heavenly Beautiful. Great pictures!

    • Liz December 3, 2016 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks!

  16. Emma December 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    I visited Lauterbrunnen whilst travelling to make the most of the white water rafting, but I’d absolutely love to learn to snowboard and visit again when it looks so picturesque!

    • Liz December 3, 2016 at 11:29 am #

      Oh that would be fun, was it summer?

  17. Carrick | Along for the Trip December 8, 2016 at 9:27 am #

    Liz, it’s all achingly beautiful. Switzerland has been on our bucket list for skiing the past few years and it’s good to know that the areas around Wengen are good for beginners/intermediates.

    Great pictures and great post!

    Safe travels

    Carrick

    • Liz December 15, 2016 at 5:12 am #

      It’s really just magical!

  18. Fatin December 11, 2016 at 6:08 am #

    Wow all your pictures are amazing! I plan to go to Switzerland by end of this year & will refer to your blog for all Switzerland must go places!

  19. Shivani Sharma January 12, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

    wao its amazing scene.and beautiful place.

    • Liz January 14, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

      it truly was!

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